Chicago Booth is known for its flexible curriculum, which
allows students to curate a tailored MBA experience by picking and choosing the
courses they want to do. In fact, there is only one class that is mandatory for
everyone: Leadership Effectiveness and Development (LEAD). The course is
designed to enhance one’s self-awareness and interpersonal effectiveness by
working in teams and going through modules such as cross-cultural
communication, personality development, and feedback and coaching.
Each year, 40 second-year students (called LEAD facilitators)
are selected by faculty to design and deliver this flagship course to an
incoming class of ~600 students. I had the pleasure of being a LEAD facilitator
this year, an experience that has been the highlight of my time at business school.
But in a school that is known for cutting-edge research in finance and economics—and has faculty that is at the forefront of their fields—why is a student-run course on leadership the only mandatory class? I got the amazing opportunity to sit down with Professor Harry Davis to reflect on the journey of LEAD, 30 years after he started the program in 1989.
Last spring, my internship search led to three offers: a finance associate role in the Northeast; a corporate strategy role in the Midwest; and a product management role in the West. I weighed my options in regards to location, potential career trajectory, and company culture. After a difficult decision, I landed in Silicon Valley. It wasn’t so much the role itself, but the vast opportunities for spontaneous networking and immersing into cutting-edge technologies. Let me explain.
Greetings from Boston! This summer, I traded my view of
Chicago’s “Bean” sculpture for the city nicknamed Beantown (though I have avoided
the eponymous summer food staple due to the recent heat spell we have been
facing in the Northeast!). I am about to kick off week nine of my internship at
Providence Strategic Growth, the software-focused growth equity arm of
Providence Equity Partners. I have been lucky to have had an incredibly active
summer—both at work and at play—slotting in on a few deal teams for platform
and add-on acquisitions, attending a couple pitches and board meetings, testing
out what I learned at Booth in leadership, strategic problem-solving, and even
meeting up with our deans for a sneak peek at the new initiatives being
implemented for the upcoming year.
Over the last two years, I’ve had the opportunity to play in several rock bands with some incredibly talented MBA student musicians. There’s nothing quite like performing music in front of others. Every time I play a live show with my Booth rock band, Ida Noise, I feel overwhelmed with joy. It’s not that different from how I felt when I was working this summer as a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group – I loved structuring and solving problems for my clients and then collaborating with my co-workers in live, improvisational, brainstorming sessions.
Before coming to Booth, I always thought that my identity as a would-be business strategist conflicted with my love for playing and making music. How can you have a demanding, challenging, and financially rewarding career as a strategist and be a serious musician at the same time?
I recently had the pleasure of listening to Tzachi Zamir speak at a Spark Dinner hosted by the Harry L. Davis Center for Leadership at Booth. Tzachi is the inaugural visiting scholar and a Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In his talk, he discussed the performance related aspects of leadership and the need for leaders to hone the characters they bring on stage.